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Great Cars That Nobody Bought: Subaru Tribeca

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On: Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 9:26AM | By: Teddy Field

Great Cars That Nobody Bought: Subaru Tribeca

In the image conscious world of family transportation, the Subaru Tribeca sat in the corner like a nerdy girl with braces. She was probably smarter and more capable than all of those cheerleading Toyotas. But since she lacked the beauty and breeding of the popular CUVs, nobody asked her to the prom at Cul-de-sac High. And that's a shame, because Miss Tribeca turned into a real looker on the used market...

Named for a snooty Manhattan neighborhood, the Subaru Tribeca harnessed all of Fuji Heavy Industries' car-building know-how. It rides on a modified Outback chassis with standard Symmetrical AWD and over eight inches of ground clearance. Snow and muddy dirt roads won't phase you, even if you don't live in Denver. And to turn those big 18-inch wheels, Subaru employed the very latest incarnation of their boxer-6, which (as of 2008) displaces 3.6 liters, with a brand new variable valve timing system. 256 hp/247 lb-ft get fed through a manually shiftable 5-speed auto, enabling the Tribeca to boogie to 60 mph in about 8 seconds. It's certainly not a rocket ship, but neither are any of its competitors.

First launched in 2006, the Subaru B9 Tribeca was initially powered by much less powerful 3.0L H6, and wore a different... Alfa Romeo-esque face. The front end received a less controversial look in 2008, the B9 designation was dropped, and the bigger engine was installed. This variation of the Tribeca was made from 2008–2014, and it's the one you want.

On the inside, you'll find lots of standard luxuries in Subaru's flagship SUV. There's ambient foot well lighting, dual-zone climate control with rear seat controls, power heated leather seats with memory, a sunroof, and a 385-watt 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. The front is arranged in a smart looking twin-cockpit design, with a large display screen in the middle of the dash. You can find a third row seat in some Tribecas, but they're tiny, and impossible to sit in (unless you're 5). Regardless of the seating configuration, every Subaru Tribeca gets side and curtain airbags, dual side impact door beams, and more sound insulation than King Tut's tomb. It might not have a famous last name, but this Subaru can certainly blend with the country club set.

Prices range from $10k for a nice 2008 Subaru Tribeca, to the low $20s for a gently used 2014 model.

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